U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken visits West Bank amid Israel-Hamas conflict. Blinken met with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas in an attempt to alleviate civilian suffering in the Gaza Strip and lay the groundwork for a post-conflict scenario.
The visit came shortly after Israeli warplanes struck a refugee camp in Gaza, resulting in numerous casualties. Despite protests against Blinken's visit and U.S. support for Israel, the meeting with Abbas concluded without any public comment, leaving the outcome unclear.
The meeting between Blinken and Abbas was described as tense, with differences between the two parties becoming apparent.
Abbas demanded an immediate ceasefire to Israel's assault on Palestinian civilians, emphasizing that the conflict extended beyond Gaza and affected the West Bank as well.
Palestinian Ambassador Husam Zomlot called for the U.S. to act as a peacemaker, highlighting the need for mature diplomacy. The lack of public statements following the meeting left observers uncertain about its outcome.
Following his visit to the West Bank, Blinken made an unannounced trip to Cyprus, where he met with Cyprus President Nikos Christodoulides and Foreign Minister Constantinos Kombos.
The discussions were held on Blinken's plane, indicating the importance and urgency of the talks. From there, Blinken traveled to Baghdad for another surprise visit, meeting with Iraqi Prime Minister Mohammed Shiaa al-Sudani.
The Secretary of State urged the Prime Minister to hold accountable those responsible for attacks on U.S. personnel in Iraq. The discussions also touched upon preventing the Israel-Hamas conflict from spreading and addressing the humanitarian situation in Gaza.
Blinken described the discussion in Baghdad as a "good, productive, candid meeting."
I made very clear that the attacks, the threats, coming from militia that are aligned with Iran are totally unacceptable. We're not looking for conflict with Iran.- U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken
During a news conference in Baghdad, Blinken emphasized the importance of a humanitarian pause in the fighting in Gaza.
He stated that such a pause could facilitate the return of hostages to Israel and provide much-needed aid to desperate Palestinians. Blinken acknowledged the current aid efforts but deemed them insufficient, calling for increased assistance.
In his meeting with Abbas, Blinken reaffirmed the U.S. commitment to delivering humanitarian aid and resuming essential services in Gaza.
He also stressed the need to prevent the displacement of Palestinians and discussed efforts to restore calm and stability in the West Bank.
We’ve had important progress there in recent days but also real complications that come along with it. We continue to work through them.- U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken
Palestinians carry posters with pictures of U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken during a protest against his visit, in the West Bank city of Ramallah, Sunday, Nov. 5, 2023.
Blinken's visit to Abbas in the West Bank marked the beginning of his third day of an intense Middle East tour. Prior to the meeting, he had visited Israel and met with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
Blinken also held meetings with senior Arab officials in Jordan. Throughout his tour, Blinken has expressed firm U.S. support for Israel's right of defence.
The Arab foreign ministers Blinken spoke with in Amman on Saturday repeated the same demand: Jordan, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and the United Arab Emirates. However, Blinken said that the United States would not advocate for one.
It is our view now that a cease-fire would simply leave Hamas in place, able to regroup and repeat what it did on Oct. 7.- U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken
In his ongoing efforts to address the Israel-Hamas conflict, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken made an unannounced visit to the West Bank to meet with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas.
The meeting was described as tense, with differences between the parties becoming apparent.
Blinken also made surprise visits to Cyprus and Iraq, emphasizing the need for a humanitarian pause in the fighting and accountability for attacks on U.S. personnel.
The Secretary of State's Middle East tour continues as he seeks to alleviate civilian suffering and lay the groundwork for a post-conflict scenario.